Leeds canal ride

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.


New Member

I'm going to try and ride the Leeds-Liverpool canal today (not all of it :smile: ) just going to see where I get and scout it about a bit.

I'm riding from Leeds city centre East-West, anyone got any hints or tips before I set off?


Legendary Member
Don't stop in Burnley.


If you have an MTB, use that over hybrids & road bikes. It's pretty poor in places.

Wear shades when riding in the evenings as there's flies everywhere, expecially when weather is like today.



New Member
Speaking of flies, I forgot my sunglasses the other day when I was out riding and got hit straight in the centre of my left eye by a flea, it was really painful and I had to pull over to the side of the road to get it out. It took me ages.
About twenty minutes later it happened again. I'll never go out without my sunglasses on a hot day again. You go for months without seeing a fly then you get hit by two in the space of half an hour.


Puzzle game procrastinator!
ASC1951 said:
You need a permit, which is free. Get it here http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/cycling/permit

Worth having if only to show to those sad stick waggers who clog the place up in the evening.
I got one years ago just in case anyone ever tried telling me that I shouldn't be riding on the towpath. I carried it with me for about 10 years but nobody has ever challenged me so now I don't bother.

The other thing you'll get is "Why haven't you got a bell!"

I used to ride up to walkers and cough, click my brake levers, flick the brake cable against my top tube, deliberately ride through patches gravel to make more noise, call out "Excuse me please!", but nothing worked. I still had grumpy ramblers shouting out "Why haven't you got a bell!"

So, I gave up and bought a little bell for my MTB. I'd ride towards ramblers ringing the bell gently, then more insistently, then continuously and as loud as I could. No joy. I'd have to ride up right behind them ringing furiously before they'd hear the bell and then they complained that I was being rude for making such a racket - you can't win! ;)

PS Whatever you do, don't ride over expensive carbon fibre fishing rods left across the towpath - that really wouldn't go down well!


New Member
Well I went out yesterday...what a beautiful day!!

The route wasnt that bad it was pretty prostate shattering in places but I got used to it after a while. It was really dry so what others may have found to be a really mudd path was just dust everywhere. Bike came back dirty as hell...but for me that's just a sign of a good ride!

People walking along though...OMG!! I understand you don't neccesarily expect someone coming up behind you on a bike...but COME ON! :biggrin: That's all I say on that one! "Colin J" is extremely accurate in what he says.

Was a really nice ride though, I only took one water bottle which was an error. I made it from Leeds centre to Bingley 5 Locks then thought it a good idea to turn back, I'll try get to Skipton next time.

On the way I saw a gentleman who's tyre had exploded! Helped him out and then on my way. When I got back left my bike in the garden and went to get a drink came back and just standing still mine did the same thing, just blew up with no contact at all!

I think it might have something to do with when I got to the 5 locks I got up a good head of steam to attack the hill, only to notice there's a massive lip at the bottom and hit it full on, horrible sound from the tyre. So in all honesty I'm quite impressed it lasted as long as it did.

All in all a good day out, need to take more drinks with me next time though and some food (although there's ample places to buy especially in summer). Unfortunatley I'm back at work now :smile: otherwise I'd go again!


New Member
7 miles after 5 rise locks (Riddlesden) you get off the canal and onto the roads. This section of the canal is very poor for a number of miles. The canal becomes mud, track and grooves. Only passable with a mountain bike, nerves of steel and good level of fitness.

My sister and I did a 46 mile ride to Riddlesden to Leeds and back on Friday. It is the longest we have done (Training for GYBR in June). Loving the improvements in Leeds on the towpath and silly bridges.

I don't think having a bell really helps as 50% of people have earphones in so don't hear you, 40% dont listen and the other 10% jump to the side like you are about to run them down declaring you scared them. Lose lose.

I occasionally cycle with my dog on the canal. She is great at clearing the way of ducks and people as she insists on being in front. Don't need a bell when I am with her as they already know we are coming thru! he he (she has her own squeeky horn to know she needs to heel when passing bikes)


The lip at the bottom of 5-Rise, done that.:whistle: Best to just get your head down take a deep breath and steady away, the first time I thought my heart would explode but a year later and I was enjoying the climb. I came down it yesterday, fast, to be confronted with another cyclist, idly starting his climb, wobbling all over whilst he was texting. :rolleyes: Shame you didn't go another 2miles or so, a beautiful stretch,

For Skipton, I come off the canal at the Keighley roundabout and re-join it later, you need a MTB to enjoy the stretch from there to and past Silsden.

I am finding increasingly hard to get past Saltaire now that the Boathouse bar is open, it used to be a quick couple in Fanny's Ale House but now it's another in the Titus bar and a leisurely couple more in the Boathouse. :biggrin:



New Member
I really don't think a bell would be neccesary. I actually went past one guy on a really narrow bit shouted at the top of my voice "EXCUSE ME" only to see he had his headphones in so I had to tap him on the arm as I passed. Suffice to say the fear in his eyes as I did made up for my annoyance!

Need to just find some spare time now to get back out down that route, but it was enjoyable. Would like to go further, maybe try and do a camping trip and cycle all the way and get to Liverpool.

I can appreciate the paths aren't great, my hybrid with front suspension seemed to cope ok (apart from that lip that nearly broke my wheel in half), my tyres are again a cross fattish road tyres. When I went out it was baking hot and really dusty I suppose normally muddy paths would be fine if its baking hot as before. I'm assuming your all going to suggest not going further if the path isn't baked hard...but I think I'll try it anyway ;)


God's Own County
The 5 Rise is my nemesis - I have made it up twice and had to push twice, so we are even at the moment!

My brother in law was there once (having an ice-cream at the top after his own successful ascent) and some bloke tonned it down, hit the ridge and left most of his face on the tow-path.
Top Bottom